Justo sentenced to 3 years in jail after attempting to blackmail his ex-employer


BANGKOK: Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo was yesterday sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after he admitted to attempting to blackmail his former employer, PetroSaudi International.

The Bangkok South Criminal Court ordered the jail term to start on June 22, the day the 49-year-old former IT executive was arrested on Koh Samui resort island in southern Thailand, according to officials.

He was charged under Section 338 of the Thai Penal Code which carries a jail term of one to 10 years and a fine of between 2,000 baht (RM222) and 20,000 baht (RM2,223).

His lawyer, Pranot Kalanuson, told reporters he would meet Justo “some time this week” to discuss the next course of action, including whether or not to appeal against the sentence.

Pranot said he would get details of the sentencing from his assistant as he himself was not in court today.

Justo arrived at the court at 9.10am with his legs shackled, and entered the courtroom which was closed to the media.

He emerged from the courtroom around midday.

Journalists, most of whom were from Malaysia, threw questions at him but he did not respond and walked silently barefooted past them flanked by four correctional officers.

Justo was arrested after PetroSaudi filed a complaint, and was brought to Bangkok.

While in custody, he confessed to the blackmail attempt using the information he obtained from PetroSaudi.

He also admitted to handing the stolen documents to a “prominent Malaysian businessman” who turned out to be The Edge Media Group chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, who never paid him the money promised.

Justo, however, denied tampering with the digital documents.

The Malaysian police also wanted to interview Justo as some of the information concerned PetroSaudi’s dealings with 1Malaysia Development Bhd but their Thai counterparts did not allow them access. — Bernama